The content of this blog is usually pretty heavy stuff. Torture, occupation, war, terror. It’s nice to, every once in a while, be reminded that the Middle East is also a center of great culture, not to mention sex-change operations. So because it’s Friday and I’m feeling a little more light-hearted than usual, I can’t resist excerpting from NY Times film critic A. O. Scott’s review of “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan.”
Let me be blunt: “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan” is the finest post-Zionist action-hairdressing sex comedy I have ever seen. …
You might also think, as I certainly did, that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict presents a singularly unpromising source of laughs. But as Yitzhak Rabin once said, enough of blood and tears. He did not go on to propose semen, urine, shampoo or hummus as substitutes, but those are, for Mr. Dugan, Mr. Smigel, Mr. Apatow and Mr. Sandler, the substances that come most readily to hand. (So does a made-up but scarily realistic Israeli soft drink called Fizzy-Bubbeleh.)
And the filmmakers spray all this stuff around in a brave and noble cause. American diplomatic efforts have so far proved inadequate to the task of bringing peace to the Middle East, but “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan” taps into deeper and more durable sources of American global power in its quest for a plausible end to hostilities. Ancient grievances and festering hatreds are no match for the forces of sex, money, celebrity and exuberant, unapologetic stupidity.
How does it handle politics? According to the Chicago Tribune:
“Zohan” simultaneously exploits and decries anti-Arab sentiment, right up until the moment we’re handed an image of Israeli-Arab solidarity as the warring factions unite against the real enemy. Who is the real enemy? American greed, in the form of a venal real estate developer modeled on Donald Trump, determined to gentrify the living daylights out of post-9/11 Lower Manhattan.
It will be released in Australia on June 19th. Anyone want to write a review for Khaldoun when it comes out?